Zipporah Pottenger-Dobyns

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Zipporah Pottenger Dobyns, known to everyone as Zip, worked with astrology and psychology since 1956. She developed the astrological alphabet which is a valuable tool for spotting repeated patterns in people’s lives. Her big delight was her work with the asteroids (which Rob Hand called “Zip’s pet rocks”).

She lectured in 16 countries and 36 U.S. states, taught one to two week seminars with Maritha Pottenger for 20 years at the Feathered Pipe Ranch in Montana, and in Texas, California, and Canada. She wrote for the CCRS quarterly journal, The Mutable Dilemma, for 20 years, and much of that time for its quarterly newsletter, Asteroid-World. She also wrote articles for a variety of astrological publications and presented seminars on a variety of astrological topics at conferences of ISAR (International Society for Astrological Research), NCGR (National Council for GeoCosmic Research), UAC (United Astrology Congress), AFA (American Federation of Astrologers), AA (Astrological Association) in England, and organizations in Paris, France and Guadalajara, Mexico, etc.

She received the Regulus Award (twice) at UAC conferences for Education, and for Discovery and Innovation, the Southern Cross Award from the Federation of Australian Astrologers, The Aquarius Workshops Award for Service to Astrology, the Lifetime Achievement Award from ISAR and the Mercury Award from the Professional Astrologers of California. She earned a B.A. in anthropology at the University of Chicago, Phi Beta Kappa (1944), and an M.A. (1966) and Ph.D. (1969) in clinical psychology at the University of Arizona. She began the study of astrology in the fall of 1956 and was certified as a professional astrologer after the AFA exam in 1960. Zip was ordained as a minister in the Community Church of Religious Science in 1965.

She worked with astrology since the mid-60's, using it as a psychological tool to counsel and teach. Zip gave radio and TV interviews in many U.S. states, Canada, New Zealand, etc. She served as a member of dissertation committees for two students receiving Ph.D.s in psychology whose dissertation research involved astrology.

Her published books include:

  • The Astrology Annual Reference Book
  • The Astrologer’s Casebook
  • Distance Values
  • Evolution through the Zodiac
  • Expanding Astrology’s Universe
  • Finding the Person in the Horoscope
  • God’s World (inspirational poetry)
  • The Node Book
  • Planets on the Move (with Maritha Pottenger)
  • Progressions, Directions and Rectification
  • Unveiling Your Future (with Maritha Pottenger)
  • The Zodiac as a Key to History
  • Healing Mother-Daughter Relationships with Astrology
    (with Maritha Pottenger, published May 2003).

She is survived by two brothers (James Pottenger of Jamul, CA and John Pottenger of St. Petersburg, FL) and four children (Rique Pottenger, William Pottenger, Maritha Pottenger, and Mark Pottenger—all of San Diego, CA).

We Will Miss You, Zipporah Pottenger Dobyns

How do you say good-bye to someone who has been your parent, sister, best friend, mentor, colleague, and spiritual exemplar?

Mom knew how much all of us loved her. Indeed, many people across the world considered her their mother as well. She had four children of her flesh and many, many more who considered her their mother of soul-choice. Zip’s reservoirs of patience, wisdom and kindness were immense. For me, she was always a shining example of someone who was intellectually brilliant and yet endlessly compassionate. Throughout the 51 years I had the privilege of knowing her, she was unceasingly helpful to everyone around her. She lived the power of a good example.

Mom gave generously of her time, attention, expertise, resources, and energy to anyone who asked. Besides all the practical skills she taught me, the astrological knowledge she passed along, the encouragement she provided, her greatest gift was her philosophy. Mom believed in the goodness of the Universe—and the Universe consistently affirmed her viewpoint. She taught me to always find the silver lining, to be grateful for my many blessings, and to trust that the Universe would come through for me—after I had done my part, of course. Mom’s work ethic was very much alive and well and she didn’t believe the Universe would come through for a slacker. But anyone who was trying—even if they were not very effectual—she was on their side and ready to help.

The “facts” about Zip’s life include her B.A. in anthropology (Phi Beta Kappa), and B.A. and Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology. Zip was certified as a professional astrologer by the A.F.A. after taking the exam in 1960. She lectured, taught and counseled in 16 countries and 36 U.S. states. She is the author of a number of books, the most recent being Healing Mother-Daughter Relationships with Astrology which we wrote together and which just came out in May 2003.

Well-known as a premier psychological astrologer, Zip designed the “astrological alphabet” (fondly called the “Zip Code” by friends and colleagues) to help spot repeated themes and issues within a horoscope. She was a strong supporter of astrological research and encouraged everyone to test their theories against their clients’ life experiences. Her enduring fascination was the study of the asteroids (since 1975). Indeed, Rob Hand referred to the asteroids as “Zip’s pet rocks.” She received numerous awards from her peers, including two Regulus Awards from UAC (one for Education and one for Research and Innovation).

Beyond the facts and figures lies the personal side of Zip’s story—a brilliant mind, incredible compassion, endless curiosity about people, the independence to forge her own path, the spiritual courage and dedication to humanity that enabled her to live a life of inspiration. Her insights, encouragement, support and understanding touched thousands and thousands of people’s lives for the better. She left an extraordinary legacy and the best recognition we can all offer is to strive to live up to her level: her empathy, her intellectual rigor, her passion for justice, her profound interest in philosophy and Higher Meaning, and her visionary example.

   - Maritha Pottenger (her daughter)

From 1996 when Zip received the Lifetime Achievement Award from ISAR
 and the Southern Cross Award from the Australian Astrological Association.

She was one of my heroines and inspirations. She will be missed.
   - J. Hawkins-Tillirson

I am realizing, even as I type, that even my e-mail address might not be the same if I had not known "Zip". As a participant in one of the seminars at the Feathered Pipe Ranch in 1984, Zip encouraged me to obtain my masters degree in nursing.( I already had my R.N., and was realizing it did not give me quite what I needed in terms of what I wanted to do with my life.) She said, "Then you can work independently, and do your counseling, including astrological".

Because of that very reason, I returned to school and got my masters degree. I would not have done so otherwise, I don't think. Now I am a psychiatric nurse practitioner, and able to do so much more, and in fact just this week purchased the Electronic Astrologer from Astro Communications. I guess I ordered it sometime last week, just before she passed away! That is amazing to me! This was my plan, in my later years (now 61)- to continue to do counseling, using astrology.

So, I have to wonder- is she still influencing me? I had put it off, and put it off, and really kind of wondered to myself just why I did decide to order that rather impulsively last week, since I am not yet retired, and I still have a Macintosh computer,etc - I really have to wonder! Thanks, Zip, for continuing to push me along!  My condolences to Maritha and family. Your Mom had a very great influence on making my life a happier one, and in helping me to look at the bigger picture!
   - Rita J. (North Node 13 Virgo)

Thanks for what You've done. You've made your contribution to a better world.
   - Floro

Dear Zip, Back in the early 1970's I discovered astrology! You gave me my very first astrological reading which I will never forget. May the universe tenderly envelope you in loving arms.
   - Lovingly, Frances T., Greece.

Can't believe that I got to be part of the very first intensive that Zip had at her home in L.A., as my certificate is #7. The Astrological world will certainly miss one of the GREATS, and I'm so excited that I got to share in her world.
   - Aloha Zip, Vicki

My deepest condolence to one of the best astrologer in this world. I hope that our Lord illuminates her soul within the next lifetime.
   - Ariel, Caguas, Puerto Rico

My condolences to Zip's family and colleagues at Astro Communications. I can't believe that brilliant mind and compassionate nature has left this earthly plain. Zip saved my sanity about 30 years ago. I was caught up in the events of a traumatic childhood and Zip took the time at a convention to answer a crucial question in my chart that put my life on a positive path and saved me from suicide. I will never forget her.
    - Jane M.

I never met Zip or saw her lecture, but her reputation preceded her and I learned about her through her many wonderful books. Thank you Zip for sharing your insight and wisdom with the world.
   - Carolyn A.

I first met Zip at an AFA conference in San Francisco back in 1974 I think it was ... and was impressed with her knowledge and character both. That astrology grew in her life to be such a notable family affair has been to our advantage. Thanks Zip. Glad our paths crossed! Happy trails to you.
   - Trudi G.

I did not personally know Zipporah but feel touched by her knowledge regarding astrology, having met and read several of Maritha's books, which has helped me further my own quest for understanding and revealing the importance of astrology and its applications in my life and... every life. Bless you and thank you.
   - Linda L.

We will remember her with great love and respect.
   - Eleni T.

i am grateful for every star in the astro comminity . her star will shine brightly in the heavens .
   - Paula L.

Zipporah, Thank you for the Node Book. I recognized your name right away.
   - A student, Karen L.

Hace muchos años en mis comienzos en Astrologia, los Libros de Zip,fueron una Luz en el Oceano de la compresion. Doy gracias a Dios por su aportación y su trabajo en la busqueda de el conocimiento humano por medio de esa ciencia tan cercana a las estrellas y en la que con toda seguridad, ahora en su morada. Mis condolencias a toda su familia.
   - Antonio Arjona (Madrid-Spain)

I really did not know Zip in person, but being an astrologer my self, it's sad news specially for her who contributed in astrological knoledge. Maritha, it is really difficult for you and the rest of the family; please take my condolences on your Mom's passing away.
   - Amin Faruqi

The best teacher ever!
   - Mary S.

Zip was a wonderful teacher. She had so much to offer and the knowledge she imparted was unique to the astrology world. She will be greatly missed.
   - Natalie F.

I credit Zip with stimulating my (lifelong) interest in taking Astrology seriously back at the end of the 60's when I was a Philosophy undergrad @ USC, and a member of CCRS ... the Community Church of Religious Science, working with her brother, Jim Pottenger. Prior to Zip I had never heard the intelligent person's case for Astrology. Her work collectively will continue to influence many for years and years to come. We will all miss her.
   - Rhona P.

The heavens are blessed to receive you. We are at a deep loss to lose you. The world was made a better place because of you. Thank you for all the books and research work you left behind to continue to educate and inspire. I thank you for being in my world when I needed to read your work and learn astrology.
   - Patricia H.

I met ZIP in the early 70's in the home of a mutual friend in Lawrence, KS. She read my family our charts, and we went on to do comparrisons and yearly transits, I still have all the tapes. She truly was blessed with astrogical wisdom. I have spent my life letting astrologly guide me because of her influence. Thank you Zip, and thank you ASTRO.
   - Margaret, Lawrence KS.

I surely ADMIRED Zip. She gave me insight and perspective. I enjoyed the time @ her place- out in the country. Love to maritha, a teacher also, of mine.  I plan to buy the "Mother-Daughter" book- How Timely, of its' completion.
   - Rachel E.

Many years ago I attended astrological conferences from time to time and had the pleasure of attending lectures given by Zip or Maritha. I like to think that a new star has been added to the heavens. Zip lives in our memories.
   - Hilda S.

Dear : Mrs Zip Dobyns, you make the Great Tool, as simple as a to z for me. Many wonderfull almost magical things happen to me, you will forever be my Teacher. Heaven...Teacher...go...have fun.
   - Iwan Roumimper

I fondly recall a meal I shared with Zip at the ISAR conference a few years back. Knowing nothing about her research, we talked about asteroids, planets and all of the things she loved so much. I cherish the small amount of time I was given to share with her. I shall never forget Zip and how she touched my life that day. -
   - Jim F. - Los Angeles, Cal.

I met ZIP in 1980's, where she presented at several astrology conferences. She held court, she was awesome incredibly orgnazied, and coherent. She was inspiring, a leader, and pathfinder. Her spirit is forever with us.
   - Raul

My condolences to her family and everyone at ACS. I have been a fan and student of her work for years. Her memory will live on in her work for generations to come. Thanks Zip for so many insights and blessings.
   - Love and Light, Jacqueline Gladfelter, Astrologer, San Francisco, CA

One of my first books on astrology was "Finding the person in the horoscope" by Ms. Dobyns. After reading a person's work, I tend to find a connection to that person, even though I had never met her personally. I felt as though I knew a little bit about Zip, based on her writing style and the knowledge she shared in her books. She will be missed by so many.
   - J. McCaul

Lessons I learned from Zip have stuck far more than from any other teacher I have had. I still have the tape of her interpreting my chart over 20 years ago, and her "freedom versus closeness" analysis is one that I still think about today. How often do we meet someone who has affected so many lives so personally? She lives in our memories.
   - Judy M.

I met Zip at the Fewathered Pipe Ranch. I will never forget her patience, excellent standards, and compassion, in a personal circumstance. We were privileged to know a very great soul who lived among us.
   - Loraine D.

My DEEPEST sympathy to Zip's family and all her dear colleagues at ASC! As an ACS customer for many years, I am also very saddened by this loss! Zip will always be a shinning star! Though she had departed physically, her starshine (spirit and enlightening work, etc.) will live on!
   - Kia Orana, Lady Carla Davis, ND Florida, USA Rarotonga, Cook Is.
     Hamilton, New Zealand

Zip was the first Nationally known Astrologer to come to Louisville in the earily 70's to catalyze our then rather covert and unrecognized group, the core of which became the Kentucky Astrological Association. She was a joy and an inspiration. I lectured with her in Chicago at the House of Sagittarius a few years later and we had some deep and meaningful discussions concerning her " pet rocks " and plans for future lectures. I ran into her all through the 70's at the Aquarian Revelation Centers' Conferences and always found her true, humorous, inspiring and a wonderful human being. May the owls conduct her spirit to the higest planes of wisdom and may her influence on our beloved Astrology always be felt. Be seeing you Zip!
   - David W.

My condolences to her family and everyone at ACS. I have been a fan and student of her work for years. Her memory will live on in her work for generations to come. Thanks Zip for so many insights and blessings.
   - Love and Light, Jacqueline Gladfelter, Astrologer, San Francisco, CA

With fondness, I remember Zip from the brief time we lectured together in Dallas, and again in Houston. My natal Sun conjoined her natal Ascendant, so we found much in common. The Total Lunar Eclipse of May 15, 2003 was at 25 Degrees Taurus. Another of our finest astrologers, Lois Rodden, passed away on June 5, 2003. Her progressed Ascendant for Yucaipa, CA was 27 degrees Taurus. The good news is, Venus, Mercury and the Moon's North Node conjoined those Ascendants! My thoughts are with her family. It's a tough time, for we are all still human. I just know those two are travelling along together, sharing all sorts of memories, stories and laughs!
   - Roberta M.

When I lived in Los Angeles I was privileged to take part in classes at Zip's house. She was a generous spirit, not only with her incredible astrological knowledge, but as a human being. After years of study, Zip's unique perspective brought me a much greater understanding as concepts suddenly tumbled together. I send my condolences to her family, friends and colleagues. She will be missed, but she has left a great legacy for those to come.
   - Jackie P.

Zip Dobyns always impressed me from my earliest years in astrology, when I attended conferences and was attracted by both her teaching and the colorful, flowing kaftans she always wore, usually with tennis shoes. She seemed so comfortable within herself, ignoring the fashions of the time and setting her own special style in the process. She was always casually comfortable in her presentations, too, while delivering content that was clearly full of substance. I admired her greatly.

When I was married to Neil Michelsen, I learned how Zip had been a highly significant influence on his work, as well. Neil often talked of how he attended a summer workshop Zip gave in the summer of 1970, and was inspired to see if he could calculate astrological charts on IBM's computers. He presented the first charts of what would become ACS at the AFA convention of 1972. Neil employed all of Zip's children at one time or another, Mark in the beginning years of ACS in Pelham, New York, and later in San Diego, Maritha as Editorial Director and primary creative force, and Rique as the programmer who became Neil's technical successor after his passing in 1990. In Neil's last months, Zip's son Bill came to help us, providing a strong and gentle healing presence to care for Neil. By far, not the least of Zip's gifts to the world have been her children, all of whom have in one way or another followed in her path.

Almost to the last, Zip has been a marvelous role model of how vital an older woman can be, and also how courageous, as she refused to let her illness stop her and continued with her travels, her research and her work with clients. I can't quite say, "Rest in peace, Zip" because I rather doubt if she's resting, though I hope she feels a profound sense of peace in a life well lived. I'd prefer to think of her as happily conferring once again somewhere in the realm of Spirit with Neil and other greats of our field who've passed from this world, as they look for new lives and worlds to infuse with light. Thank you, Zip, for the light you brought to this one.
   - Maria Kay Simms

I am so saddened to hear the news of Zip's passing. She was one of my earliest and best teachers. We first met in 1974 when she lectured at UCLA and I was just starting out in astrology. I became one of her fans instantly. Her knowledge of asteroids and how she used them was eventually what carved my path down the rocky road of asteroid research and usage. But there was so much more. She was a teacher of teachers and one who totally and selflessly shared her insights and long hours of research with us. She was never too tired or busy (though she was very busy) to answer any question, and guide her students along the path. A woman of very high integrity and fine character, I feel blessed to have known her personally, to have been a student of hers and to have been hosted by her with warmth and friendship. I'll never forget the week at her house for the ISAR Research week in 1984. It was there I worked closely with her and Lois Rodden whose passing also leaves a huge void for us in the field. Zip was the kind of teacher I have tried to become. She will always be loved and missed for what she brought to the field of astrology, and how she raised it to new levels of understanding and professionalism. Wherever you are, Zip, I know your light still shines forth, and ours to you.
   - A. Guttman

Thanks to Zip, I continue to learn about the asteroids, the alphabet and many ways of thinking anew. She is a smart comet in the universe of astrologers and has, at last, found her way home! She will continue to shine brightly in the astrological firmament! Her energy is still "zipping" around the Universe. Ever shall it be!
   - Dr. Vikki

This is surreal ~ as if a celestial tsunami touched our shores for a moment and whisked away one of the greatest lights that astrology has ever known. Zip Dobyns' impact on this planet and on the countless thousands of people she taught and helped and encouraged will surely live on forever.

I am one of the privileged ones to have shared two 9-day intensives with her (and Maritha) in 1980 & 1984, when we invited them up the coast to Vancouver, BC. The precious gems that poured from her brain are still strewn throughout our mental landscapes. I think I speak for all of us 'north of the 49th' when I tell you that for me, the name 'Zip Dobyns' will always conjure dynamic life, meticulous intelligence and a grand heart.

The most truly blessed are also the most truly missed. Bon Voyage, Zip! Thank You!
   - S. Hughes

Thank for all. Thanks your generosity and patience. A few months ago i´ve written to Zip, asking her help and a contribution to my astrological work. She was generous and kind, prepared to help someone she didn´t know and without asking any price for that. So we've exchange some emails and i´m sure that i was in the "presence" of a good heart. A real condition for a great astrologer and even better person.
   - Rita, Lisbon, Portugal

It was a privilege and a life-changing experience to have known Zip. Somehow I found out about her and made an appointment for a reading in January of 1979. This was the first time I met her. I had a lot of fun with her in that session, and I enjoyed her keen analytical intellect and perceptive comments. She also had a terrific soothing voice (marred only by coughing).

Following that personal horoscope session, I wanted to know far more about her unique approach to astrology, so that March I attended her "Intensive" at her house on 838 5th Ave in Los Angeles (she moved to Jamul several years ago at least). I taped the lectures and chart readings and typed up transcripts for easy reference.

During that general period (around 1981, actually), her daughter, Maritha, also had classes on Wednesday evenings that I attended. Many times Zip would join in. I remember Marguerite being there, and Katie, and Mary S., Mark occasionally, and others. Often we brought guests for Zip and Maritha to "read" their charts! It was a fun, learning experience.

Zip was really at her prime then and her house was an energetic meeting ground of inquisitive minds. The hungry stomachs were also feed very well in that household after the Intensives meetings as well! I remember Zip, Maritha, and others slaving in the kitchen! Zip was, in her words, a "Virgo" type astrologer, especially seen in her style of writing, although I most appreciated her "Gemini" (Moon in Gemini in the 1st) style of expression, hearing her voice, her spontaneous remarks. Zip on tape, in my opinion, is far more "alive" and insightful than her writing style, and I am glad I still have tapes of her sessions to enjoy.

However, we all owe her gratitude for her unique, workable "Zip" system or approach to reading horoscopes. I particularly found of value her focus on the asteroids (that many astrologers at the time found irrelevant or of minor consequence). She was on to something there, something big. The named asteroids showed even further the grand "order" of the Universe in terms of mapping the psychological framework or dynamics of a given chart.

As an example, when Zip did my chart with the asteroids, I commented on how I always liked Arizona when my wife & I vacationed there. Zip pointed out that I had natal asteroid "Arizona" conjunct my natal Moon in Aquarius in the 4th house--a natural "home" for me! So I plan to retire there in about 12 years!

My progressed Moon was opposite my progressed Juno (the "marriage" asteroid) in May of 1982--the exact period I moved in with my future wife! At the time I did not realize this astrologically. Progressed Moon was conjunct Juno in Sept '81 when I got seriously involved with Stephanie. Progressed Juno was trine natal Moon when we got married that early November. So there is indeed, at least in my case, to say about the asteroids that Zip championed.

Zip was a highly "Mutable" individual, and she traveled all over the world. She was also a Mother to the world. She admitted in the Virgo 1999 issue of the Mutable Dilemma quarterly journal that being a universal mother had its karmic price that cost her her health. I think also that her compassion to the world was so strong that she felt really bad about the state of the world (she was heavily into political astrology) and perhaps this too affected her more than people realized.

But what she contributed to the world in terms of intellectual output and personal insights for clients is truly monumental in scope in this small corner of the World (the field of astrology). I am truly grateful to her for being lovingly and helpfully here in this world for these nearly 82 years. I'll miss her!
   - Bill Wrobel

My awareness of Zipporah Dobyns came around 9 years ago when I started using Astro Communications chart services. The name intrigued me at first, then it was the beautifully simplified way of seeing repeated themes of the "Astrological Alphabet" that it began to make sense for me and greatly assist me on my journey doing what I Love to do. Thank God for the presence of this wonderful Soul and may she feel all of the Goodness and Love that she expressed return to her with the limitless energy of the great spiritual exchange that is our source of our being.
Elizabeth Villarreal

I am so sorry that Maritha and her family lost their mother. To grow up and have a solid, adult relationship with one's parent is a rare and wonderful experience. To lose it is to lose twice--a mother and a friend. God bless.
   - Johanna B.

I met Zip in August 1979 and last talked with here in Oct, 2002, and today when I read of her passing I feel a profound sense of sadness. As a psychologist I considered her a colleague, but more that she was a friend and spiritual teacher. My heartfelt symapthy to Maritha and her brothers.
   - James K.

Zipporah was my first and most influential teacher of Astrology. I thank her for all the insight and information she gave to me and the inspiration to pursue the study of Astrology. She will be greatly missed.
   - Martha L.

I was a board member of ISAR and their librarian back in the late 80's when we usually met at Zip's house in Los Angeles. I got to know Maritha and Mark, and their place was really like a second home for me. I was first introduced to microcomputers by Mark in 1978-79, and his chart calculation program and their computers allowed me to do some of the research that has completely changed my view of the world.

Although I'm not currently active in the community, I did about 6 months of intensive historical reseach into US events and astrology in 2002 and have posted the results at a Yahoo group web site. If it hadn't been for Zip and Mark, I would probably never have discoverd how much I didn't know about our remarkable world.
    - Wayne T.


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